NEW RESEARCH: Researchers at Southern Cross University are about to undertake new studies into the properties of tea tree oil.
NEW RESEARCH: Researchers at Southern Cross University are about to undertake new studies into the properties of tea tree oil.

Under the microscope: Uni sets its sights on native plant

IN A new study funded by AgriFutures Australia, researchers are enhancing their understanding of a native plant oil which could boost industry development.

Researchers at Southern Cross University are looking at further investigating the medicinal safety, efficacy and applications of the antimicrobial properties of tea tree.

They have said a lack of accessible information related to the Australian native plant has led them to commence a new study.

This will involve a systematic literature review analysing published studies currently available, to be spearheaded by Associate Professor Romy Lauche of the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine in collaboration with Southern Cross Plant science.

She said the project will seek to benefit healthcare practitioners and consumers, providing a better understanding of the current applications of tea tree oil for effective and safe use of related medicines and products.

In order to meet these needs, Professor Lauche believed an updated review was urgently needed.

"To make evidence-based decisions, most consumers and health practitioners rely on critical and comprehensive, yet accessible summaries of research," she said.

"The last review however was published more than 10 years ago.

"This project is needed to summarise and critically examine the existing evidence from published research to inform consumers, and health care providers on the safe and effective use of tea tree oil."

This work was critical in increasing demand for tea tree oil and the industry's growth, according to AgriFutures Australia Research Manager Gae Plunkett.

"By highlighting the gaps in research and development, this project will likely stimulate further research and development in this area, and increase the understanding of the value of tea tree oils for health and medical benefits," Ms Plunkett said.

"It will also likely increase demand and ultimately lead to an increase in profitability at the farm gate for all Australian tea tree oil growers."

The study has recently commenced at Southern Cross University's Lismore campus.

The team of researchers seek to publish their findings mid-2021 and will make the resources available at agrifutures.com.au/tea-tree-oil